Among the ever-growing list of Okotoks council candidates is Oliver Hallmark, a 12-year Okotoks resident who's been cutting hair in town for just as long.

He feels that pandemic recovery is still at the forefront of most everyone's minds, and it's something he plans to emphasize.

"With the obstacles that we've faced over the last 18 months, I'm hoping to work in a positive direction for economic recovery for small businesses and support modernizing social programming to help Okotoks' more vulnerable citizens."

Himself being a business owner for over 10 years, Hallmark believes his business insight would be valuable for a council member when it comes to economic growth.

A spot on council is something he's been looking at for some time.

"I actually was thinking of running four years ago, but when I looked into it, I realized there were some gaps in my resume. So I then looked at joining more committees and getting to know the community a bit better. I currently sit on the FCSS and the Age-Friendly Community Subcommittee," says Hallmark.

Part of his vision for inclusivity involves housing options and pathway accessibility for local seniors, along with some more involvement from local youth in making the town more inclusive.

He'd also like to see the town join a particular network dedicated to eliminating discrimination alongside 82 other Canadian municipalities.

"I'd like to see the town of Okotoks join the Coalition of Inclusive Municipalities. This would help ban conversion therapy on a municipal level, but also our town would get more resources and programs to strengthen relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people."

Regarding the current council, Hallmark has found their approach to be generally agreeable.

"I'm in favour of what the current town council has been doing. I wasn't too certain about water, but I did a tour of the water treatment plant and I talked to some people, and I think, just as the town's website says, we're heading in the right direction when it comes to water."

When dealing with issues regarding the town's growth, like the town's water supply, Hallmark says cost-effectiveness should play a big role in any decision-making.

Though a majority of sitting councillors have announced they won't be running again in the fall, Hallmark is optimistic about the turnover we'll be seeing with council and the new ideas they'll bring.


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